from the take-a-little-ride-on-the-old-John-Deere dept.
An article about how the Russian military stole farm equipment from a John Deere dealership in the Ukraine, only to find it all remotely disabled when trying to use/sell it on the other side:
Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm equipment dealership -- and shipped it to Chechnya, according to a Ukrainian businessman in the area.
But after a journey of more than 700 miles, the thieves were unable to use any of the equipment -- because it had been locked remotely.
Over the past few weeks there's been a growing number of reports of Russian troops stealing farm equipment, grain and even building materials - beyond widespread looting of residences. But the removal of valuable agricultural equipment from a John Deere dealership in Melitopol speaks to an increasingly organized operation, one that even uses Russian military transport as part of the heist.
[...] Other sources in the Melitopol region say theft by Russian military units has extended to grain held in silos, in a region that produces hundreds of thousands of tonnes of crops a year.
Are there other examples like this justifying some sort of limited DRM? How prominent do you think this will be held up as an example in lobbying efforts to justify not passing "Right To Repair" laws?
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A while back, retired journalist and octogenarian, Chris Biddle, had an excellent interview with author and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow about digital restrictions. They speak in particular about digital restrictions technologies which have been spread within agricultural equipment through the equipment's firmware. Their conversation starts out with mention of the use of network-connected firmware to brick the tractors which were looted from dealership sales lots in Ukraine by the invading Russian army. Cory gives a detailed overview of the issues hidden away by the mainstream press under the feel-good stories about the incident.
But was the bigger picture more worrying? I speak with Cory Doctorow, author, Guardian journalist with a special interest in protecting human rights in this digital age.
He says that whilst 'kill-switches' used to disable the machinery provide a security benefit, it is possible that widely available 'hacking' technology could also be used to disrupt the world's agricultural infrastructure by those with more sinister motives.
All of which feeds into the Right to Repair cases currently going through the US courts. It is also all about who owns the tractor, who owns data, and who owns the rights to the embedded software?
Deere contends that a customer can never fully own connected machinery because it holds exclusive rights to the software coding.
Some US farmers have attempted to unlock the embedded by purchasing illegal firmware –mostly developed by sophisticated hackers based in Ukraine!
The interview is just under 45 minutes.
(2022) New York State Passes First Electronics Right-to-Repair Bill
(2022) John Deere Remotely Disables Farm Equipment Stolen by Russians from Ukraine Dealership
(2022) A Fight Over the Right to Repair Cars Turns Ugly
(2021) Apple and John Deere Shareholder Resolutions Demand They Explain Their Bad Repair Policies
(2021) The FTC is Investigating Why McDonald's McFlurry Machines are "Always Broken"
(2020) Europe Wants a 'Right to Repair' Smartphones and Gadgets
(2019) New Elizabeth Warren Policy Supports "Right to Repair"
(2016) Sweden Wants to Fight Disposable Culture with Tax Breaks for Repairing Old Stuff